By Ali Braboy
OTTAWA — Dorothy Radtke was one of five residents to move back into the La Salle County Nursing Home last month, and her family is happy she’s back.
Radtke had lived in the La Salle County Nursing Home for about 2½ years prior to the Feb. 28 tornado. Her family was with her in September, and they praised the work of the staff.
Those with Radtke were her daughter Celeste Nagle of Spring Valley, son Mike Radtke and daughter-in-law Jean Radtke of Peru.
“They’re so caring and involved,” the family mentioned.
When the tornado hit in February, the 68 residents were evacuated by midnight, either by going home with family or to one of five other facilities taking in residents. The roof received extensive damage, and windows around the building were broken. Two men from Ottawa, not from the nursing home, died as a result from the storm.
The Radtke family said throughout the six-month closure, Amy Gillespie, who works with admissions and social services, kept in contact with them, providing updates.
“We’re very fortunate our county has this,” Jean Radtke said.
Gillespie has worked at the nursing home on and off for 10 years.
“I just love it so much, this nursing home,” Gillespie said. She had been one of the workers laid off on May 2, but she said the residents and their families are her family, so she wanted to remain in contact with them.
At the time of the tornado on Feb. 28, there had been 68 residents, but 21 of those residents have since died, administrator Chris Csernus said.
“We’re looking forward to getting more residents,” Csernus said.